Northwell Returns Amputees to the Water, Creating the First 3D-Printed, Amphibious, Prosthetic Leg

Dan Lasko, a 33-year-old Marine Corps veteran, tests out "The Fin" – the first 3D-printed, amphibious, prosthetic leg.

Northwell Health today announced the creation of “The Fin,” the first 3D-printed, amphibious, prosthetic leg that gives amputee swimmers the ability to navigate from land into the water and back.

For 33-year-old Marine Corps veteran Dan Lasko, whose leg was amputated below-the-knee after his vehicle hit an explosive device while serving in Afghanistan in 2004, the prosthetic is truly a life changer.

“The Fin is greatly improving my quality of life and allows me to return to my love of swimming. I recently got back in the pool with my two young sons and for the first time was able to dive into the pool with them,” said the accomplished athlete, who has completed six marathons and more than 30 triathlons around the country since his injury.

The development of this pioneering, amphibious prosthetic was spearheaded by Northwell Ventures, which evaluates, develops and commercializes ideas that originate with the organization’s physicians, researchers and other employees.

 The Fin was designed and printed by Northwell Health’s 3D printing experts, working in collaboration with two Long Island-based firms: Eschen Prosthetic and Orthotic Laboratories, a prosthetic design firm headquartered in Hicksville, and CPC (Composite Protyping Center), a commercial-grade advanced composite manufacturing company based in Plainview. In addition to The Fin, Northwell and Eschen are in discussions to commercialize the development of this product and other customized prosthetic devices for anyone who has lost a limb, solving a common problem for thousands of amputees.



 “The prosthetic market is characterized by one-size-fits-all solutions,” said Thomas Thornton, senior vice president of Northwell Ventures. “For amputees with a passion for swimming, there was no device out there that was truly amphibious and allowed them to really swim. We made something that didn’t exist and solved a specific problem in a very spectacular way. We hope to develop other customized solutions that will enable the estimated 1.9 million people have lost a limb nationwide, a number that is expected to double by 2050, to resume active lifestyles.”

“The Fin attaches to a standard prosthetic with ease, allowing the amputee to enter and exit the water without changing prosthetics,” said Todd Goldstein, PhD, Director of Northwell Ventures 3D Printing Laboratory, who designed and fabricated “The Fin” prosthetic. “My hope is that this device creates unforeseen opportunities for amputees everywhere.”  

Beginning this week, a new multimedia advertising campaign, called “The Return,” will be launched to highlight this innovation. The campaign will include a digital and social media initiative directing viewers to a Northwell hub page, giving amputees the opportunity to learn more about the campaign and explore ways they can return to the activities they love.

The new campaign, created with advertising agency J. Walter Thompson New York, highlights the latest in a series of innovations that Northwell Health is pursuing to change the way diseases are treated, keep people healthier, and expand services and access to more people than ever before, including veterans and their families. It builds on Northwell Health’s “Look North” rebranding efforts launched in 2016 with the health system’s name change. The campaigns spotlight Northwell’s pioneering vision for reshaping the future of healthcare to millions of consumers throughout the New York metropolitan area.

“As Northwell’s trajectory soars and our brand thrives, we want to continue to educate our community about who we are and what we do,” said Ramon Soto, senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer at Northwell. “‘The Return’ is a unique demonstration of Northwell's commitment to `Look North’ – to achieve the unimaginable and leverage Northwell’s 3D printing expertise and our relationship with veterans to create something that has never been done before.”

“Putting people at the heart of innovation is a big part of looking at healthcare differently and that’s what we set out to do with The Fin,” said Ben James, executive creative director, J. Walter Thompson New York.

Northwell’s Office of Military and Veterans Liaison Services helps address the issues facing returning veterans and their families, serving as both a treatment provider and as a major employer of veterans. “Six percent of injured veterans are missing a limb. It's our goal to redefine what’s possible for a veteran with a below-the-knee amputation,” said Juan Serrano, director of military and veterans liaison services at Northwell Health. “This is just one among many initiatives we are pursuing to make a meaningful difference in the quality of life, care and services our veterans and their families receive.”

Visit www.northwell.edu/thereturn to learn more about “The Return” campaign. 

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About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 21 hospitals and over 550 outpatient facilities. We care for more than two million people annually in the metro New York area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 61,000 employees – 15,000+ nurses and nearly 3,400 physicians, including nearly 2,700 members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. And we offer health insurance through CareConnect. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit Northwell.edu.

About Eschen Prosthetic and Orthotic Laboratories, Inc.
Eschen Prosthetic and Orthotic Laboratories was founded in 1921, making it one of the first orthotic and prosthetic companies in the New York area. With nine locations throughout the metropolitan region, Eschen has more clinical offices and staff than any other provider. Eschen is known for its creativity and commitment to excellence in delivering superior patient care. Specialty areas include advanced upper and lower-extremity prosthetics for children and adults, lower extremity orthotics for children and adults, scoliosis bracing, and sports medicine bracing. To learn more about Eschen, visit www.eschenpo.com.

About Composite Prototyping Center (CPC)
Composite Prototyping Center (CPC) in Plainview, New York, takes the best assets available to form a manufacturing competency resource in the rapidly growing composites market. CPC provides companies with essential training/workforce development, process technologies, prototype manufacturing and testing capabilities to enable them to meet the advance manufacturing supply chain needs of prime contractors. CPC is also The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation’s (IACMI) satellite office for the Northeast region. CPC’s staff consists of experienced professionals who have been at the forefront of state-of-the-art composite design & manufacturing in both the aerospace and defense sectors and provides hands-on training and support to participating manufacturers and their employees. To learn more about the Composite Prototyping Center, visit www.compositepro.org.

Contact:
Barbara Osborn
212-434-2400
[email protected]